Rain and hailstorm, triggered by a western disturbance, lashed various parts of the National Capital Region (NCR) on Saturday and resulted in a drop in mercury, with Delhi’s maximum temperature settling at 25.3 degrees Celsius (°C) — five degrees below normal, and the lowest recorded in March so far.
India Meteorological Department (IMD)’s Safdarjung observatory, which is considered the base weather station for the Capital, recorded 2.2 mm of rain between 8:30am and 5:30pm on Saturday. However, other parts of the city received more rain — the Aya Nagar station recorded the most rain at 8.4mm during the same duration, while Palam recorded 3.3mm and the Lodhi Road station recorded 3mm.
Meanwhile, IMD officials in Chandigarh said Gurugram logged 38.5mm of rain —the most in the state of Haryana — while in Noida, Met officials said 4.5mm of rain was recorded till 5.30pm.
Though the Capital’s maximum temperature saw a sharp drop from Friday’s 30.4°C, the minimum increased slightly from 17.2°C on Friday to 18.2°C, which is two notches above the normal.
According to IMD, winds blowing at a speed of 30-40kmph swept across NCR, including Loni Dehat, Hindon, Ghaziabad, Indirapuram as well as parts of Chhapraula, Bhiwani, Farukhnagar and Modinagar.
IMD’s forecasts say a cloudy sky is expected on Sunday, with very light rain and thunderstorms.
IMD scientist Kuldeep Srivastava said Delhi-NCR received rain and hail due to the impact of a western disturbance influencing weather over the plains of northwest India.
“Today’s rain was on account of an active western disturbance over northwest India. Hailstorm was observed in Noida. As per RADAR, Delhi also recorded hail. Another western disturbance will affect the region on Sunday. We will see lesser activity on Sunday in comparison to today, but light rain and drizzle will be witnessed in Delhi-NCR,” said Srivastava, adding that the weather activity will peak on Monday, but the impact of the western disturbance will continue till Tuesday.
“The main impact will be observed on Monday in Delhi-NCR, where light rain and thunderstorm is likely. Hailstorm activity is also expected,” said Srivastava.
“The rain can be attributed to a western disturbance and a cyclonic circulation over northwest Rajasthan and its neighbourhood in lower tropospheric levels. A trough runs from northwest Rajasthan to north Bihar and another trough/wind discontinuity from south interior Karnataka to Jharkhand in lower tropospheric levels,” the IMD forecast read.
The rains led to multiple snarls across NCR. In south Delhi, commuters facing the double whammy of road closures and diversions at Chirag Delhi and NH-48 saw their travel time further increase due to the rain.
“We were hoping for some respite since vehicular traffic is relatively lesser during the weekend but due to the rain, there was no improvement,” Chetan Sharma, a resident of Greater Kailash 2, said.
Vikram Singh, executive engineer of the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority, said though waterlogging was reported from parts of the city including Hero Honda Chowk, Subhash Chowk, near Artemis Hospital, and some other places, it started receding soon after the rainfall stopped.
“No infrastructure damage was reported from the hailstorm which took place at Sohna Road, Iffco Chowk, Narsinghpur, Badshahpur and other places,” he said.
Meanwhile, an advisory issued by the Noida traffic police on its social media account said waterlogging was reported from the Sector 60 underpass in Noida, at Kisan Chowk, Shahberi and Itehda roundabouts in Greater Noida West, and at besides Dadri-Lal Kuan road in Greater Noida.
Met officials warned that intermittent rainfall is likely to continue in most parts of the country till March 22. In northwest India, scattered, moderate rainfall activity with thunderstorm, lightning and gusty winds is expected over the western Himalayan region, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan between March 18 and March 20.
Saturday’s rain also led to a slight improvement in the Capital’s pollution levels, with a Air Quality Index (AQI) reading of 184 (moderate), as per the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) daily national bulletin — down from the 188 logged on Friday.
According to the Early Warning System (EWS) developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, that CAQM relies on for its forecasts, the air quality is likely to deteriorate and reach the poor category from Sunday.
With inputs from Soumya Pillai